planning software

Project planning software for tradespeople

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Online project planning tools are designed to help you keep every job running smoothly, no matter how complicated. We run down some practical project management tools that could help you run a better building business...

Why use a project planning tool?

Managing projects involving multiple partners, trades and tradespeople, suppliers and sites can be a challenge for even the most experienced builder.

The project planning software featured here provides a single place for you to create, record and manage everything related to a project.

Here are some reasons why a project planning tool might benefit your business:

  • Project planning tools enable you to manage the five phases of a project. From concept, through to planning, execution, performance management and completion.
  • A good project planning tool lets you combine lots of things in one useful place, so instead of needing multiple calendars, spreadsheets or to-do lists you can see everything at once.
  • Visual project management platforms provide a simple dashboard that can help you see everything that needs to be done, in a more engaging way than a simple to-do list or spreadsheet.
  • If you’re managing more than one project at a time, a project planning tool can ensure you manage your resources effectively and avoid double booking.
  • Over time you will build up a record of previous jobs which can be used as a reference point when pricing new ones.
  • You can choose to use low-cost cloud-based platforms such as Asana and Trello, or invest in a more expensive specialist platform, such as Buildertrend.
  • All the software solutions featured here are designed to work on mobile phones, tablets and laptops, keeping you in control wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.
  • You’ll need to invest some time learning how to use a system and introduce it to your business. If you’re asking employees to use it too, you may need to provide support to help them get up to speed.
  • Before shelling out or signing up, think about whether you need project planning software at all. If you’re working on small projects, you can often achieve everything you need using a simple spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel, or Google Sheets.

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Trello

  • Trello is a visual project planning app that uses a job board system and lists to help you manage project progress.
  • You create a board for each project and a list of jobs you can tick off as they’re done.
  • Trello is a highly visual approach to project management, and while it won’t make it fun, it’s a lot easier to use than a spreadsheet.
  • You can trial Trello for free, to begin with, but a business subscription will cost around £7 per-user, per-month.
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Asana

  • Asana is a project management tool that’s great for larger teams and bigger projects.
  • You can create lists of jobs, distribute tasks and manage teams.
  • Asana’s timeline feature is excellent for producing detailed project plans. You can track what needs to be done, by whom and by when. If deadlines change or slip, it’ll make adjustments.
  • The software is detailed, but it can be a challenge to set-up in the beginning.
  • You can use Asana for free, but you’ll need to spend around £10 per user, per month for the full system.

You may have heard of other popular project planning tools of including Microsoft Project, Basecamp, Monday and Teamwork.

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Pro-tools for project management

These tools are designed for much bigger firms and come with a price-tag to match, but they can provide brilliant efficiency for larger organisations.

  • Buildertrend – The 'big daddy' of building project management software , Buildertrend is the industry-standard project management tool for large scale jobs.
  • e-buildere-Builder is designed for very large projects with teams of trades to match - ideal if you’re building a motorway or a hospital, but probably more than you’ll typically need doing domestic work.

Online tools and apps